Occasionally I watch Throwdown With Bobby Flay when it is about a dish that I’m a fan of.  The most recent episode I’d seen was the one where Bobby got himself spanked by Sohui Kim, the co-owner and chef of the The Good Fork in the dumpling war.  So I knew that I just *HAD* to try out her recipe!

It was pretty easy to find using my Google-fu:

Sohui Kim’s Pork-and-Chive Dumplings
2 tbsp. canola oil, plus more for frying dumplings
1 cup diced onion
3 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. minced ginger
1 cup chopped garlic (or Chinese) chives
1 1/2 lbs. ground pork
1 8-oz. package firm tofu
3 tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 16-oz. package dumpling wrappers (look for the Twin Marquis brand, Hong Kong style, available in many Asian food stores)
1 egg, beaten and reserved in a small bowl
Salt and pepper to taste

And here are the accompanying instructions:

In a large pan, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, ginger, and garlic chives and cook for 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and let cool. In a large bowl, combine pork, tofu, and hoisin sauce with the chive mixture. Test-fry a small portion of the pork mixture and adjust seasoning.

..don't be afraid to get the hands down and dirrrrty...

(1) Holding dumpling wrapper flour side down, place a teaspoonful of pork mixture onto the middle of the wrapper.

(2) Dip your index finger into the beaten egg and rub it over half of the outer edge of the dumpling.

(3) Fold dumpling in half, crimping it in the middle and sealing along the egg-moistened edge, taking care not to leave any air pockets. Repeat procedure and pan-fry the dumplings until crisp and brown on both sides. Serve with a combination of soy sauce and rice-wine vinegar to dip. Note: makes about four dozen dumplings; extras will keep in the freezer for two weeks or so.

...pleats!...

I pretty much followed the recipe written.. as it was the filling itself that I wanted after all, except I had doubled it because I knew I wanted extras to keep in the deep freezer.  But then I came up with the brilliant idea to go one step further by making my *OWN* dumpling wrappers.  The recipe I used goes like so:

100g flour
75g hot water

Stir together with a spoon until it starts to come together, then roll out onto a floured board and knead until the dough becomes smooth.  Cover and let rest for 30mins-1hour.  Then cut into 10g portions (usually works out to about 17 pieces).  My recommendation would be to make as many batches as you need separately and avoid doubling or tripling your recipe.  I had initially doubled the recipe and the dough just did not turn out as nicely as when I had just made the one batch.

...the humble beginnings of a dumpling wrapper...

...rollling, rolling, rolling...

...another dumpling close-up...

So after slaving away like I was in a dumpling sweat shop, I finally ended up with a total of 34 dumplings with home-made wrappers, and 69 dumplings made with pre-made wrappers.  Those made with the home-made wrappers were a bit more misshapened as the dough was more difficult to work with.  The pre-made wrappers made the dumplings look more uniformed with their perfect pleats, and were much easier to manipulate.

...exhibit A: premade wrappers...

...exhibit B: homemade wrappers...

Lay em out flat on a cookie sheet for them to freeze up nice and hard, and then chuck the lot into a heavy duty freezer ziplock bag for easy storage.

But don’t freeze them all up… make sure you save a few (or more!) for dinner.  Instead of pan-frying them like the original recipe had suggested, I decided to take a page out of the potsticker method and cook these Chinese style.  Heat up a well-oiled non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, and place the dumplings bottom-side down in a nice even layer.. don’t over crowd!  Let the bottoms sizzle up until a nice brown crust develops.  Then pour into the pan enough hot water so that the water level reaches about a third of the way up the sides of the dumplings (anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4cup).  Be quick about this and watch out for the sizzling oil!  Cover IMMEDIATELY with a lid and wait for about 10 minutes, which is typically how long it will take for the water to cook out.  Some water may still be present when you do lift the lid, so just keep it uncovered and let the rest of the water evaporate.  Let it cook in the pan for a little long, until the bottoms have the chance to crisp up again.

Serve hot with your choice of dipping sauce… I keep it simple and just add a small splash of red rice wine vinegar to soy sauce.  And the taste verdict… despite the extra labour, the dumplings made with the home-made wrappers were by far much tastier!  The dough was very tender to bite into, and the filling came out juicier.  In my opinion… this is so worth going the extra effort for!  Hope you have fun with this recipe!

...crispy bottoms...

...*drools*...